Diesels emit less CO2 than petrols, but there is still only a certain amount of either type of fuel that can be extracted from a barrel of crude. So if everyone suddenly changed to diesel, they'd need to supply more crude than they do for the current petrol/diesel mix)
Still, as someone that covers a lot more than the average number of miles each year, it makes sense to use a diesel rather than a petrol. The diesel engine takes me between 40 and 50 miles on a gallon of fuel, depending on the type of driving I or my pupil are doing. When I taught in a petrol engined Ford Focus, I was getting between 22 and 30 miles to the gallon.
If you pass your test in a car with automatic transmission in the UK, you can only drive cars with automatic transmission. If you pass in a manual car, you can drive either sort. So automatic tuition is something of a niche market. I've driven automatics before, but not much, and I much prefer the control and familiarity of a manual car.
Finally, hybrid or electric engined cars are obviously going to be much more to the fore in the fairly near future.
So I've been looking for a hybrid diesel with manual transmission, and until now there has been no such thing. Hybrid cars, like thr Prius, are almost always automatics. Honda's CRZ is a manual hybrid, but that was about the only one available, and it's an odd looking beast.
It's easy of course to find a diesel with manual transmission. Two out of three boxes ticked again. But what of that holy grail vehicle? The Diesel Hybrid with manual transmission?
Well diesel hybrids are starting to happen. Volvo do one. Mercedes Benz do one. And Peugeot do one.
the volvo promises just 49g/km of CO2 - Less than half of what my little fiesta emits, and that's in a car that produces enough power to drag it's heavy carcass from 0-60 in under 7 seconds. And it's claimed to do an average of 150 miles per gallon. A huge leap forwards compared to what most cars offer. Unfortunately, it's far too big to teach in. And it has an automatic gearbox. And it's going to cost about £40,000. That's far more than I can afford to pay.
The Merc does about 70 miles to the gallon and produces about 109g/km of co2. No improvement on what I have already then really, since that 70mpg, like all manufacturers figures, is almost certainly utter bollocks. It's also automatic only, and although the cost has not been announced yet, it's a luxury vehicle and is in no way suitable for people who like to smack into kerbs and stall at the drop of a hat.
Finally, there's the Peugeot 3008.
Now this is a diesel. It's also a hybrid. And it has a manual gearbox!
It chugs out 99g/km of co2 - not much less than my fiesta, which produces about 110. What you get is not more efficiency but more power - around 200bhp when you use both electric motor and diesel engine. So still not quite what I'm after. Also it's selling for about 27,000 quid. Still far above my budget. One for the early adopters.
Things are heading in the right direction though, albeit far too slowly. In terms of the bigger picture of course, this does seem like shutting the stable door after you've rearranged the deckchairs. But perhaps two years from now, I will be teaching my pupils in a manual diesel hybrid.